Being a pastor, I am often blessed to hear others tell wonderful stories of faith that have impacted their lives. One such faith story comes from the time when I served the Weeden Heights congregation back in the 90’s. Jimmy and Elaine Springer were such faithful servants of God, and I considered myself to have received an extra blessing by becoming more than their pastor, but also their friend. One day Elaine shared with me a simple but powerful image of why we all need a child-like faith.
See Jesus This Christmas
It was during the Christmas season. She and Jimmy had decorated their home to match the festive holiday season. Among their many decorations was a Nativity Set, complete with all the characters and animals. Elaine said she carefully arranged the scene so that each figurine’s face was looking outward. This way, each person who looked at the scene could see the faces of Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men. During a visit from their grandchildren, Elaine said she walked past the Nativity Scene and all the characters had been moved. They formed a circle around the manger, and the baby, Jesus.
Well, she carefully rearranged them back to their original state, only to discover sometime later to find them in a circle again—all in a circle around the manger and the baby, Jesus. When she asked her grandchild why she had rearranged them in a circle, the child’s reply is a classic and full of faith: “So they can all see the baby Jesus.” Needless to say, the words spoke to Elaine’s heart, and the truth was ever so clear. The Nativity Scene was indeed correct—each person, each animal facing and focused on the Christ child. Needless to say—the Nativity Scene remained that way, all characters in a circle that focused on Jesus.
It was a special Christmas when a child reminded everyone, that this Holiday Season is really about one thing—Jesus. And I remembered the words of Paul in Hebrews chapter 12—“Keep your eyes on Jesus!” This time of year is truly a busy and sometimes stressful time. Crowded streets and highways, parking lots that are full, huge shopping crowds, long lines, finding the perfect Christmas gifts; all this and more sometimes makes us forget what the Season is really all about.
So, if you are all stressed out, I have a word for you; that word is—STOP! Take your eyes off the crowds and lines and sales, and circle up around Jesus and focus on Him! Right now, or when you get home, go to that Nativity Scene in your family room, then move all those figurines into a circle around the hope and love that can only be found in Jesus. And if someone asks, “Why are these figurines in a circle? I can’t see their faces.” Tell them, for God’s sake, tell them, “Look where they are looking—see the face of Jesus.”
And from this Kingdom Pastor, who often struggles to keep his focus, I want each of you to experience the inexpressible Joy, Hope, Peace and Love that comes from “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”